Tutorial 1 – Introduction to Research – Answers

Tutorial 1 – Introduction to Research – Answers


In this week’s lecture we explored a brief overview of what research is and what forms it can take. Today you are going to have a go at looking at some research from different disciplines and suggest if it was qualitative, quantitative or both. Work through the following questions, you will need to access the Brightspace module for extra material to support these questions.


Q1. Below are a series of scenarios, decide if they can be considered as research or not. If they can be considered as research, what type of research is being undertaken, quantitative, qualitative or some combination?

Scenario 1A.

An engineering student was inspired by a recent lecture they attended in methods to increase welding strength. They approached their project supervisor and it was agreed that they could investigate the effects of applied current on weld strength. The student welded two standardised pieces of metal for each test and varied the welding current in increments of 10 A between 0-500 A. Following this they then used an instrument to record the strength require to pull apart the weld.

  • Yes, this is clearly quantitative experimental research.
  • The student is making measurements of pulling strength against welding current.


Scenario 1B.

An analyst was asked to evaluate what students thought about the course they where enrolled on. They developed a survey with the following questions and sent it to the students.

  • Yes, this is classified as market research.
  • The analyst uses both quantitative and qualitative questions in this survey.
  • Q1-3 are numerical fixed answers, there for are quantitative.
  • Is a qualitative question, it is open ended without any limitations to give the participant some room to speak freely.


Scenario 1C.

A member of the public was planning a trip to hike in the Lake district for three days. They used the MET office’s website to monitor how the current weather was going to change over the coming week when the hike is planned.

  • Not really ‘research’ as such, they are purely looking to see if the weather benefits them on their trip. It is a type of research, but remember we aim to have a hypothesis we can test and a method of sharing that data.

Scenario 1D.

A product analyst has been tasked with finding out if the general public prefer the new recipe or the original one used to make their yoghurt. They decide to use a stall set up on a busy public high street and allow participants to approach them, to incentivise the public to take part they offer a money off coupon.  The participants are asked to give some verbal feedback on what they think about the two recipes, which is then recorded by the analyst. Additionally, the marketing team sent out a numerical (0-10) questionnaire to those on a mailing list to what they liked about the original recipe.

  • Yes, this is product research.
  • The product analyst on the high street is conducting qualitative research, again asking open ended questions.
  • However, to follow up these findings the marketing team want numerical answers to the quantitative questions that were sent out with the mailing list.

Scenario 1E.

A formulation chemist is evaluating a new rodent repellent. In their study various rodents are introduced into a room and allowed to settle to their surroundings for 5 minutes. After that the vapours from the trial formulation are introduced from a vent, the chemist then records their observations of the rodent’s behaviour with respect to the repellent.

  • Yes, this is product research.
  • The chemist is conducting qualitative research by recording behaviours, these could be quite subjective.


Q2. You will need to read each of the following research papers, found on Brightspace under SMA0004 – Research skills, Research Skills, Week 1 – Introduction to Research, Papers for Tutorial 1. You need to decide what their research questions/hypotheses were and how was their research conducted, quantitatively or quantitatively?

Paper 1 – Nanoscale topographic changes (2013)

  • Research question(s);
    • Does the method of sterilisation alter the physical surface properties of borosilicate glass slides?
    • Does the method of sterilisation effect cells abilities to adhere to glass surfaces?
    • Can the extent of cell adhesion to glass surfaces be measured by single-cell force spectroscopy?
  • Research hypotheses;
    • Sterilisation by steam generates smoother surfaces than those treated with plasma.
    • Sterilisation by gamma generates smoother surfaces than those treated with plasma.
    • The removal of nanostructures is proportional to the adhesion of fibroblasts.
    • Topography of the glass can be controlled using different sterilisation procedures.


  • This is clearly quantitative. The researchers are measuring how sterilisation changes topography of surfaces using measurement techniques. Additionally, they are measuring the amount of cell growth and cell adhesion to those treated surfaces.

Paper 2 – 3D printing pharmaceuticals (2020)

  • Research question(s);
    • Can this suggested printing method produce custom uniform prints?
    • Does temperature alter the printing properties?
    • Does the ink approach need solvent, or can it be printed solvent free?
    • Do the selected APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients) remain stable at lower temperatures, or does temperature decompose them?
  • Research hypotheses;
    • A solvent will be needed to allow for successful printing, enabling a good flow rate.
    • The low printing temperatures of less than 100 °C will keep all studied APIs intact.
    • Tablets will become more amorphous when printed compared to their raw ingredients as studied by XRD.


  • This is clearly quantitative. The scientific method is being used as parameters are being varied and the responses are measured. Effect on solvent content, temperature and polymer type on the resultant tablets.

Paper 3 – Solvent free synthesis of ESM (2016)

  • Research question(s);
    • Can polymeric composites be prepared without solvent?
    • Will the proposed molecules exhibit potentials as energy storage materials, having phase transitions?
    • Will the transition temperature be altered by changing the composition of the polymer?
  • Research hypotheses;
    • Materials made with a higher PEG600 content will have higher transition temperatures.
    • All polymer materials synthesised will have solid-liquid transitions on heating.
    • The materials will have similar structure to PEG when studied by FTIR and XRD.


  • Again quantitative. A polymeric material has been synthesised and its chemical and physical properties are being measured under a variety of conditions.